China has taken note of the strategic advantage of Dhola-Sadiya bridge and is feeling uneasy

PM Narendra Modi recently inaugurated Dhola-Sadiya Bridge in North East to link Arunachal Pradesh to neighbouring Assam. China objected as usual asking India to be ‘cautious’ and exercise ‘restraint’ over building infrastructure in Arunachal Pradesh which it claims as South Tibet. India has repeatedly rejected Chinese claim over Arunachal Pradesh asserting that the border state is an integral part of India.

‘We hope India adopts a cautious and restrained attitude on the issue before the final settlement of the border issue with China to jointly control disputes, safeguard peace and tranquillity in the border areas,’ said Chinese Foreign Ministry stating “China’s position on the eastern section of the Sino-Indian border areas is consistent and clear.”

India opened its longest Dhola-Sadiya bridge, also the largest in Asia, over Lohit river- a tributary of Brahmaputra river – connecting Assam’s easternmost region with Arunachal Pradesh. The 9.2 km bridge will cut the distance and travel time between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh by 165 km and five hours. It is strong enough to allow heavy tanks ply over for swift movement of Indian troops in Arunachal Pradesh for bolstering India’s defence along the China border. The bridge has everything to do with economy and should be understood by our neighbour in proper perspective.

India needs to build good infrastructure in inaccessible areas like Assam, Arunachal Pradesh to promote connectivity to the hearts of distant villages and citizens in North East. India will be cautious and exercise restraint, but building infrastructure cannot stop.

India’s view is very similar to China’s CPEC and no different on disputed territory of Tibet. China has never shown restraint in Gilgit-Baltistan and Pak occupied Kashmir. Both areas belonged to India till late 1940s? As and when India points to China building infrastructure projects in disputed territory, China insists that these projects have nothing to do with disputes but when India does the same China protests. Claim and right are two different things. China can claim but India has a valid and justified right on Arunachal Pradesh. The same concern which India has with China on CPEC!

China is building roads in disputed area in Kashmir calling it as a commercial project aimed at improving people’s lives but when India does the same in Arunachal it picks up the issue. India is an independent, sovereign country and disapproves such double standard. One thing is sure; China has taken note of the strategic advantage of this bridge.

China – Pakistan build a road on an area that has been cleared declared by United Nations resolution as under occupation of Pakistan and asked it to withdraw from. But, China asks India not to build on an area that was a settled area of British India, even before independence! Arunachal Pradesh has been a part of India since the birth of the Indian nation. India is planning heavy investment in north eastern states on an expressway road project joining Delhi to Singapore via Bangkok. India is already very cautious with two neighbours around, hence continues to build infrastructure and strengthen its defences.

Dhola-Sadiya bridge used to be a long standing demand of the people of this region. The Region has ‘chicken neck’ connectivity and this bridge will increase connectivity to the rest of India and within the states. China is objecting to everything in Arunachal Pradesh like 1500 Km highway encompassing China border with Arunachal Pradesh. Such highway projects costing us 40000 crores certainly cannot be stalled. Being cautious should not mean India should not naturally build infrastructure and develop the region since the taxpaying residents of Arunachal Pradesh cannot be denied infrastructure.

India’s position on the Sino-India border and Arunachal Pradesh is also consistent and clear; Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India. New Delhi is on right path to connect NE-states called historically as Seven Sisters. India expects that China should be pragmatic and cooperate with India’s developmental efforts.

 

 

 

 

Source:- New Delhi Times

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